On new laws on French capital gains tax. Be aware

Until very recently, capital gains laws here in France allowed any second home to be totally exempt of capital gains tax after ownership of 15 years.  Be aware. This law has recently changed.  As of February 1 2012, you now must have owned your home for 30 years to qualify for this exemption.  If you sell your home and completion date is before this date, you will happily fall within the currently applicable 15 year exemption period.  But if you sell now and the completion date is after February 1 2012, your perceived capital gains and their subsequent taxation are likely to skyrocket.  For more detailed info, check out the website at: http://www.lefigaro.fr/immobilier/2011/09/16/05002-20110916ARTFIG00699-plus-values-immobiliere-faut-il-vendre-vite-ou-pas.php. This is a French hyperlink but if you need any clarifications in English, please don’t hesitate to call us or email us.

Construction, extension or enhancement expenses can be deducted, they must not be for routine maintenance expenses such as redecoration or new carpets. These expenses must have been carried out by registered contractors.
Be aware, work carried out by the individual themselves is not allowable. Also material bought by the taxpayer and paid labour costs are excluded. The cost of materials can eventually be taken into account, but only if you bought land and if you are selling a building. Alternatively, if the property has been held for at least five years, a deduction of 15 percent of the acquisition cost can be claimed in lieu of these expenses (even if no such work has actually been done to the property).

Maxéa’s advice :
As a French property owner you need to keep the following documents without any limitation of time:

    • registered contractors invoices with all legal mentions,
    • All other materials or labor invoices even if they are not allowable today, you never know how laws can change in the next 30 years.
    • copy of bank statements as proof of payment of the above mentioned invoices. No cash payments as you won’t be able to prove them.

Saint Chinian for old walls and new…

The capitelles are a constant feature of the Saint-Chinian countryside. These small huts were created using the skillful dry-stone walling technique based on the cantilever principle and recognised worldwide for its strength and lack of need for sophisticated materials.

An energetic but easy walk climbs steeply out of the village and up to the windmill, turning right and following the escarpment for a several hundred metres before reaching an area of capitelles recently reconstructed and recreated by a local association of inspired and dedicated volunteers.

As the name implies, no mortar is used in this method of construction.  Kilometres of dry-stone walls interspersed with these capitelles, created for storage and overnight shelter and playing a major role in the clearing of the terraced landscapes typical of this countryside, are testament to the unimaginable lifetimes of incessant, backbreaking labour involved in clearing the land of rocks and stones in preparation for cultivation in order to provide the most fundamental subsistence.

Cut back down through the old pass to return to the village, a circuit that will take between 60 minutes and 3 hours depending on your stamina and desire to linger, picnic and take in the fabulous views. Wild asparagus and bee-orchids, exquisitely-scented miniature wild narcissus, traveller’s joy, springtime nightingales and cuckoos, summer hoopoes and rollers, autumn buzzards and short-toed eagles, black redstarts, wild cherries, figs and plums simply add to nature’s treasure trove in this delightfully inspiring and captivating village.

And for inspiration on more contemporary masonry matters, visit us at: www.maxea.fr

Don’t hesitate to contact our multilingual, multicultural team of consultants, we’re here to offer you our experience, support, help and advice.